|Maxine van Oosten, Unions Waikato co-convenor, and Kristene Bartlett.|
It followed an Employment Court decision last year, which ruled in the favour of Lower Hutt caregiver Kristine Bartlett.
Bartlett, with the support of the Service and Food Workers Union, agreed to front a test case against her employer TerraNova Homes & Care.
The union also lodged a separate claim on behalf of a group of workers, arguing the Employment Court had the power under the Equal Pay Act to determine equal pay.
Bartlett argued her $14.46 hourly wage was less than would be paid to men with the same, or substantially similar, skills, arguing it was a breach of the Act.
Following the Employment Court decision an appeal was lodged and the New Zealand Aged Care Association agreed to help fund the case, arguing that while rest homes would like to pay their staff more they lacked the money to do so and the Government needed to increase is funding of the sector.
Employment law experts have predicted the case could have wide-ranging ramifications for a number of industries such as cleaners and nurses, setting a precedent that could mean higher pay for tens of thousands of female workers.
So several weeks ago, she directly asked the CEO of the Ministry of Women in the formal business of the Select Committee meeting if they had been consulted on any changes to this Act. The CEO said she couldn't answer. Translation: yes, this government wants to change the Act.